What Tech-Savvy Teenagers Want: Better IT Education and Mum on Facebook

Current technology education in schools is not good enough, according to new data released in the 2012 Realtime Generation Report, published by Logicalis UK today.

That’s just one finding in a survey of almost 1,000 13-17 year olds – The Realtime Generation – revealing the digital behaviours, technology ambitions and opinions of UK teenagers today.

In the report, undertaken by UK teen website clubdtv Ltd, and commissioned by Logicalis UK, 60% of UK teenagers felt that the government should provide them with better technology education, with 44% fearing that poor IT education will block them from getting a good job in the future.

The call for improving IT education for future job prospects comes from the most digitally connected members of our society, the survey finds. The report reveals that 70% now use Facebook and Twitter to connect with parents and grandparents.

The next stage in this generation’s Facebook and social media habits is firmly on building better family connections. With 4 in 10 believing the older generation is cut off from their digital world, 77% are actively helping their parents and grandparents online and get social.

The full report is available to download at http://www.uk.logicalis.com/knowledge-share/uk-realtime-generation-report.aspx . Further findings from the report include:

IT Education Vital to Career Prospects

– Only 20% of teens feel technology education is good enough

  • 60% of UK teens felt that the government should provide them with better technology education.
  • 44% fear that poor technology education will block them from getting a good job in the future. Almost 8 in 10 (77%) of those that have considered a career believe good technology skills will make a positive difference to their employment prospects.
  • 1 in 5 want to work in the IT industry and over 50% believe technology will play a key role in whatever job they chose.
  • More than 1 in 10 have already programmed a computer. Of those that have not, 35% know what it entails while only 25% say that they don’t know what it means.

The results of the survey come at a time when the government is focused on change for technology education. However, when it comes to engaging with the Realtimers, just 18% think the government understands why technology is important to their generation. Most (63%) think the government is out of touch, with over half of those teenagers accusing politicians of simply trying to look ‘cool’ when it comes to technology.

Tom Kelly, MD of Logicalis UK, comments: “The Realtimers are the most tech-savvy demographic in the UK, so it’s telling that they believe the current state of IT education is poor. However, we are starting to see synergy between the students’ need to improve the IT curriculum, and the government’s actions.

“With 1 in 10 teenagers already getting to grips with programming, and the positive attitude they’ve shown toward technology careers and in the workplace, the latest government initiatives around computer science in schools could prove a great success with this generation.”

Facebook Bridges Generation Divide

– 7 in 10 teens now connect with parents via social networking sites

  • Over 70% of respondents that expressed an opinion said they used Facebook and Twitter to communicate with parents and grandparents.
  • However, 65% said they still felt better connected to their friends than to their family through social networks.
  • 40% felt their grandparents were being cut off from the new digital world.
  • Almost 8 in 10 teenagers (77%) said that they have helped a parent or grandparent to access a website.

“Our findings suggest that it is no longer ‘uncool’ to have elder family members as ‘friends’ on Facebook,” explains Kelly. “In fact, it is now one of their preferred methods of connecting. For these teens, breaking down the barriers between the generations means building digital connections to those closest to them. We are seeing Realtimers actively participating in closing the digital divide. Not only do they want to connect digitally to their families, they are not waiting around for someone else to take the lead.”

Throughout the survey, the Realtime Generation sees technology as increasingly critical not only for building positive family relations, but also to their future prosperity and working lives. This is a recognition in-step with government ambitions for the digital economy and society. Yet, the two sides are not fully engaged.

Kelly concludes, “The survey shows there is still a divide between the digital ambitions of the government and their investment in our children. If this survey reflects the digital life for a teenager, there is more to do if the UK’s ambition of becoming a powerful knowledge economy is to become a reality. Educating and engaging effectively with this Realtime Generation could make a significant difference to the economic future of the UK.”

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